15 proven ways to increase your snail health and production
Are you a snail farmer or an intending snail farmer, looking to understand the various steps to take for your snails to perform at an optimal level?
If your answer is yes, then you are at the right place, like in other animals, how you care for your snails, the measures and style of management is a key player in the success trip of any snail rearing business.
Snail farming in recent times has increased in its popularity and acceptability, more is generally being channeled to farming snail now than before.
Many attributes this to the easy nature of snail rearing, some, stand on the easy circulation of information about snail farming in recent time than before.
Whichever is the case, good management of these slow, shy creatures is still a big plus in profit-making in the industry, Snail care accounts of how well your snail farm makes progress.
Here, we will walk you through the various ways you can maintain a good, healthy, and productive snail farm, Generally, all you need to know about snail care.
It is true that to rear snails isn’t hard; however, it is quite different from keeping broiler or goats, or from growing crops such as corn, pepper, and cucumber.
The uniqueness of snail in nature means that you need to learn how to keep snails before starting your own farm.
One thing is certain about snail farming business, if you are able to conduct your market research and feasibility studies, you are most likely not going to struggle in raising and selling your snails because snail, in general, is largely in high demand not only among African communities but the world at large because of its industrial usage.
With the ease of farming snail established, the big question is; How can one take care of these slow animals so they can produce optimally?
As a snail farmer, you do know that your management practices can either affect your farm negatively or positively
But then what exactly are snail care and management?
Snail care and management
This is as broad as it sounds, Snail care is basically the act of taking necessary measures to maintain a neat and pleasant environment for the rearing and management of your snails, it is way wider than the regular disposing of your snail pens off, remnant food materials.
It takes effect from your preparatory measures, snail to pen introductory measures, and growth system.
Snail care is a long walk in snail farming and an important part of your snail production.
And here is why;
Importance of snail care
- The snails are less exposed to diseases and infection; good snail care ensures the production of disease-free snails.
- It promotes productivity, snails perform better when properly cared for than when partially cared for.
- It reduces attack from predators like an insect; when you clean the surrounding environs of your snail farm, insects are kept far away from your snails.
- It reduces the cost of production.
- Faster growth of snails; looking after a snail helps them grow faster.
The result of an experiment (By Obal Farm ENT) involving Achatina Achatina (neatly managed) and Achatina Achatina (not neatly managed) showed AA (neatly managed) growing faster with bigger size than the later.
Obviously, the impact of snail care on the growth of your snails is huge, therefore it requires great attention from you.
So, the question is; How can you take care of a snail?
Proven ways to increase your snail health and production
There are various ways one can care for his/her snails during its growth period. From the moment of purchase, till they are ready for sale, accurate measures should be put in place. snails are dynamic in their growth requirement.
Here are various ways to care for snails at different stages of their growth
Care for snails before introducing them into the pen.
Here are the basic steps to take before introducing your land snails into the pen.
- Clean the pen to get rid of any harmful substance or harmful leftovers during construction.
- Treat the soil before introducing the snails into the pen, you can check more on how to treat the soil here
- Build an insect bridge, this is aimed at making sure your pen is not invaded by insects, you can use engine oil or chemicals.
- Ensure that the pen is spacious; the snails must not be starved of space.
Other snail care measures include
Bathing the snails
Snails should be bathed about once a week to keep them fresh and free from any pests.
How to clean/bath a snail
Place them in a shallow dish of room temperature water and run water over their body and shell to clean them. Make sure the water isn’t too deep for them as they can drown if water enters their breathing hole.
Bathing a large number of snails
Let’s take a clue from Aficanlandsnails.com publication, If your snails are large, you can give them a ‘shower’ by setting a tarp to a warm dribble and holding them underneath.
Make sure they are not being drenched or drowned though! You may find that holding them slightly to the side and letting them reach for the water themselves helps.
How to care for the snail shell
The shell is an important part of the snail body, if their shell is particularly dirty you can clean it with a soft toothbrush, or even your finger.
Don’t be tempted to scrub the shell hard as it can easily get damaged. Never use any detergents to clean your snails.
You can also polish your snail’s shell if you want by gently rubbing on sesame seed oil using a soft cloth.
It should be noted that snails need a certain number of bacteria in order to digest their food properly, so an overly-clean tank and substrate will do more harm than good.
Keeping your snail habitat clean
This is another great way of maintaining snail care, here is how to make a snail habitat clean, these measures should be taken after introducing the snails into the pen.
- Regularly clean the pen of remnant food materials before introducing new ones.
- Clean the feeding materials, mostly flat plates.
- Change the water trough and regularly change the water.
- Clean up your pens as frequently as possible.
- The pen must be moderately wet at all times to avoid dehydration.
- Ensure you feed the snails clean food materials.
It is important to note that; You must avoid adding salt to what you feed your snail. For snails, the salt will dehydrate and kill them, since all concentrated feed for other animals or your leftover food contains salt, don’t give it to your snails, try and make your own feed.
A regular supply of calcium
Calcium is of great importance to a snail, it is needed for shell formation. Snails need a steady supply of calcium to build and repair shell. Calcium supplements or extract can be gotten from bone meal, grind shell of dead snails, and wood ash.
· Constant Water supply
Water can be supplied in a flat plate for easy access by the snails. Chlorinated water should be avoided because it is harmful to the snails.
Care of snail during incubation
There is little expected from the snail farmer during incubation, during incubation, the soil covering the eggs should be lightweight and slightly cover the eggs to make it easier for the new snails to move after cracking the eggshell, once incubated, the eggs should not be disturbed. They are hatched 21 days or more after incubation.
Care for baby snails
The baby snails should be fed after hatching, calcium-containing food content is very important to a baby snail, moringa and other products are highly important.
They should be separated from other bigger sized snails for proper growth and to reduce cannibalism. You can read more about snail food here.
As a snail farmer, you have to make these practices a part of you, your snails need every caring effort you can give to them, taking notes of their regular need is a good call for building a profitable snail farm.
Care for snail before taking them to the market
It is important you prepare the snails before transporting them to the market, not like you weren’t taking care of them but these practices are targeted at making them appealing to your targeted buyers.
Just like in other animals, snails are mostly judged (by buyers) according to how they look at the point of purchase, very few (mostly intending snail farmers) care about the history of the snails.
Having maintained good farming practices and ensured you produce healthy snails, these practices help to bring out the appealing nature of your snails in the market, it is important you, first;
Feed them calcium-containing feed throughout the week before the supposed market day (Calcium is important for shell nourishment) this, you should have been doing but unlike before, calcium is mostly applied twice or three times in a week depending on the farmer’s choice.
Having stayed in a moist pen for months, the snails are liable to look dirty, ensure that they are neat enough (not all buyers want to associate with dirty looking snails).
This can be achieved by sprinkling water on them to wash off dirt and sands, you can also do manual washing by hand, (Do not use detergent).
You must note that these measures are not to deceive your buyers, No, not at all, they are aimed at bringing the best of your snails.
Snails are naturally built differently from other animals in the way they respond to the environment, as much as they have certain features which help them to adjust to changes in the environment, they demand some basic care when under intensive management.
Caring for your snails is a day to day activity and play a huge role in the productivity of your snails, it, therefore, should be a priority. Below is a recap of how to care for snails
How to care for snails
- Constantly supply calcium to the snails
- Build a comfortable house for the snails
- Keeping your snail habitat clean
- Supply water to moderate the temperature in the snail house
- Bathing the snails
- Clean your snails pen to get rid of harmful organisms before introducing the snails into the pen.
We hope you have learned something great about snail care from this post, lets us know the measures you are constantly taken to ensure you maintain a high level of care in your snail farm. We are always ready to share ideas with you.